August 22, 2014

Three events that happened on this date and a trivia question.

August 22, 1762
Ann Franklin, the sister-in-law of Benjamin Franklin, becomes the sole editor and publisher of the Newport Rhode Island newspaper, the Newport Mercury. She had earlier worked with her husband and son on other publications. Ann Franklin, later named to the Rhode Island Journalism Hall of Fame, is considered one of the first women to run a colonial newspaper. The later part of her life is described in the following excerpt:

Successful as a printer and businesswoman, Franklin also assumed the responsibilities of a master craftsman, training her two surviving daughters as typesetters and shopkeepers. Her surviving son, James Jr., was dispatched to Philadelphia to apprentice with his uncle, Benjamin Franklin, returning to Newport in 1748 as a partner in his mother’s business. In 1758 Franklin and her son launched the Newport Mercury, the first successful newspaper in Rhode Island. James Jr. served as editor and publisher, and Ann, who was ill and semiretired, wrote some of the copy.

When Franklin’s surviving children died, she was once again forced to assume full responsibility for the business.

— “Franklin, Ann Smith
The Encyclopedia of American Literature / Facts on File

August 22, 1932
The British Broadcasting Corporation begins testing its experimental television service. The official BBC television service would not begin until November 2, 1936. On that day, a singer by the name of Adele Dixon inaugurated the first program with the following lyrics: “A mighty maze of mystic magic rays is all about us in the blue.” BBC-TV broadcast the news for the first time on March 21, 1938, although they just used the audio from the BBC radio service. On September 1, 1939, the TV service shut down for defense purposes during World War II. BBC-TV returned to the air permanently in June 1946.

August 22, 2001
The first webcam event, the viewing of a University of Cambridge coffee pot, began in November 1993. On August 22, 2001, the coffee pot and the webcam were turned off. The BBC reports:

Computer technology now moves so fast it’s hard to remember life before the internet. But just 19 years ago at the beginning of the nineties, the fledgling world wide web had no search engines, no social networking sites, and no webcam.

The scientists credited with inventing the first webcam — thereby launching the revolution that would bring us video chats and live webcasts — stumbled upon the idea in pursuit of something far more old-fashioned: hot coffee.

….However, it wasn’t until 22 November 1993 that the coffee pot cam made it onto the world wide web….Ten years and millions of hits later, the scientists wanted to move on. “The software was becoming completely unmaintainable,” remembers Dr Johnson. “Research software is not always of the highest quality and we simply wanted to throw away the machines that were supporting this.” Despite a wave of nostalgic protest from webcam fans around the world, the coffee pot and the webcam were eventually switched off. The last image captured was the scientists’ fingers pressing the “off” button.

— “How the world’s first webcam made a coffee pot famous
A story excerpt from the BBC, November 21, 2012

Media History Trivia Question
When was Katharine Graham, the publisher of the Washington Post, awarded a Pulitzer Prize for her book, “Personal History”? (Answer) Posted below is her 1997 C-SPAN interview about the book.

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